Last month, I wrote a post that went viral on the 9 things married men need to stop doing._ These posts started a lot of conversations, and hopefully, they've been helpful in creating some healthy new habits in many marriages. As a followup, I wanted to take a more positive perspective and focus in on those important things husbands need to START doing (or KEEP doing if you've already started).
This is not a comprehensive list, and many married guys are doing these already, but I believe these are good reminders for all of us. I'm certainly not writing this with a judgmental tone; I'm listing the very things I need to be reminded of myself!
Guys, I hope this simple list encourages you to take action to make some improvements in your relationship. Ladies, please don't use this list as a scorecard to keep track of your husband's performance, but rather, as a conversation starter to talk more openly about his needs and your own and how you can both work together to strengthen the relationship.
In no particular order, here are things married men need to START doing (or KEEP doing):
1. Speak with a warm, encouraging TONE in your voice
Guys, we're sometimes tempted to treat our home like a locker room where we can bark out our words and demands in an aggressive, condescending or competitive tone. The words we speak will have tremendous impact in our marriages, but the tone of those words matters just as much as the words themselves. You may not realize how you're sounding, but chances are, your wife would appreciate more warmth, tenderness and kindness in your tone. Ask her. It may create some valuable conversation.
2. Do something romantic EVEN when it's not a holiday
Most guys will get some flowers to do some thoughtful on Valentine's Day or a birthday, but it's on those many "ordinary" days in between where romance and thoughtfulness are most important. Surprise your wife with some unexpected romance. Send a love letter. Bring home flowers on a random Tuesday. Take her out to a nice dinner when she's not expecting. Show her by your actions that you're still crazy about her and give her the continuous pursuit her heart desires.
3. Tell her she's BEAUTIFUL
Most guys are willing to say, "I love you" with some regularity, but few guys see the importance of saying, "Wow! You are so beautiful!" Even though you might be thinking it every time you look at her, she doesn't know what you're thinking. You need to say it out loud. She wants to hear those words from you and she wants to hear them OFTEN.
4. Initiate CONVERSATION
I hear men often talk about how they wish their wives would regularly initiate sex, but those same men are often oblivious to the fact that their wife has a strong desire for him to initiate more conversation. Your wife feels close to you when you're communicating. Her questions aren't intended to interrogate you about the details of your day; she simply wants to connect with your world. Open up to her. Call and text her through the day. Turn off your phone at night and have uninterrupted conversation. It could make a world of difference in your marriage.
This article was originally published on Patheos. It has been republished here with permission.